Sidney Village

Delaware County, New York

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Sidney Village Hall is located at 21 Liberty Street, Sidney NY 13838.
Phone: 607‑561‑2324.

The village of Sidney is located on the Susquehanna River in the northwest corner of the town. Sidney is believed to have been the site of an Indian settlement and burial mound. In the years before the Revolution, the Indians sold large tracts of land to the English government, which in turn patented it to prospective developers and settlers. Sidney was originally within the Wallace and DeBernier Patent, granted to Alexander Wallace and twenty-five others c.1770. The Wallace patent, approximately two thousand acres in size, was a long and narrow tract along both sides of the Susquehanna River (in what are now the towns of Sidney, Delaware County, and Unadilla and Otego, Otsego County). Sidney's first European American settler was the Rev. William Johnston, a native of Ireland and a Presbyterian minister, who left his home in Schenectady County and traveled down the Susquehanna from Cooperstown in 1772 until he identified a spot near the present-day Sydney airport as the location of his future homestead. In 1773 he moved his family to his 520-acre parcel, only to be forced (with the few other early settlers) to abandon the site after a threat from Joseph Brant at the commencement of the Revolution. The Johnstons sought refuge in Cherry Valley and were among the few survivors of the infamous 1778 massacre at that site. From there the family retreated to Schenectady until the close of the war. Although the Rev. Johnston never returned to his home on the Susquehanna River, the rest of his family returned in 1784 to rebuild the settlement, then known as Johnston's settlement. Although Wallace, a Tory, had forfeited his land during the Revolution, the Johnstons were able to complete purchase of their parcel from New York State. The settlement was later known as Susquehanna Flats and renamed Sidney c.1800 in honor of the then-admired British poet and admiral Sir Sidney Smith, considered a "noble and romantic figure" of the time.[1, John A. MacLachan, A Short History of Sidney (n.p., n.d.).] The village became Sidney Plains in 1817 but finally reverted to Sidney in 1886. In 1801 William Johnston's son Witter became the first supervisor of the town of Sidney.

In the settlement's early years, its economic base was tied to agriculture, timber, potash, and related industries. With the coming of the Susquehanna Turnpike, which linked the Hudson and Susquehanna Rivers, in 1805, the town's fortunes changed. The turnpike followed the path of the Ouleout Creek through the town and ended at Unadilla, just east of Sidney, bringing prosperity along its route but leaving the village of Sidney just outside the sphere of increased activity and commerce. Sidney's fortunes improved beginning in 1866 with construction of the Albany and Susquehanna Railroad (later Delaware and Hudson) through the village and the Ontario and Western Railroad's 1873 expansion of its line north to connect with the D&H at Sidney. Reborn as a railroad hub, the village saw a substantial improvement in its economy; within a decade the population had doubled and commerce greatly increased. The railroad also spurred the construction of hotels, and by 1896, the village boasted seven hotels and five churches. Among the most important late nineteenth century industries were a cheese factory, silk mill, cigar factory, carriage works, glass works, and car manufacturing plant. Although most of these businesses were closed by the early twentieth century, the Bendix Aviation Company, makers of aerospace products, located in the village in that period, boosting Sidney's fortunes for many years.

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